The Phono Project

Exploring the history of the groove

Mambo No. 5

Perez Prado was a Cuban musician born in 1916. He was notable for his impact on mambo as a genre. His mambo sounds can be heard in songs such as this one, Mambo No. 5. Traditionally, mambo is a fast paced musical genre, featuring instruments such as bongos and congas. Prado’s take on the mambo involved mixing the Cuban genre with the popular brassy big band sounds of the 40s and 50s. This helped open the genre up to sounds for other artists to explore. As a result of Prado’s contributions, such as the expansion of mambo, he earned the title “El Rey del Mambo,” which means “the King of Mambo.”

Mambo No. 5, in particular, helped to cement Prado into music history. The song was inducted into the Latin Grammy Hall of Fame the same year it opened, 2001.  This is a testament to Prado’s contributions to the genre of mambo, and proves him to be “the King of Mambo.”

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